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10 Signs You’re A Critical Thinker

10 Signs You’re A Critical Thinker

Critical thinkers are able to analyze issues from a wide variety of angles, resulting in more success in business and life. Discover your ability to think critically today with these ten signs you’re a critical thinker.

1. You get your news from a wide variety of sources.

Critical thinkers know that partisan politics come into play at any mainstream media outlet, so they strive to learn about the world from a variety of sources that offer different journalistic voices. They check out places like the Wall Street Journal for a conservative perspective, Salon for a liberal slant, First Look Media for a more aggressive approach to investigative journalism, and they might even follow the politics thread on Reddit for a smorgasbord that offers every taste imaginable.

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2. You can have rational conversations with people you disagree with.

Critical thinkers are not afraid of a healthy debate. They believe that any opinion worth having should hold up to scrutiny, so they welcome conversations with people on the opposite side of the spectrum. While it is unlikely they will change their mind as a result of these discussions, they come away grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the thought process of their fellow man.

3. You are willing to change your mind when/if you discover you were wrong.

Critical thinkers know that it is impossible to be right about everything all the time. They’re open to the possibility that no, they don’t have it all figured it out; and when that happens, they are willing to admit it.

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4. You get irritated with people who resort to personal insults on comment threads.

Critical thinkers are often frustrated at the total lack of rationality that surrounds them on the Internet. While they aim to keep any conversation centered on the issue at hand, others inevitably resort to ad hominem attacks and personal attacks, an insulting tactic that makes a critical thinker want to slam the laptop shut and walk away.

5. You evolve as a person every single day.

Critical thinkers wake up every day, excited to have another opportunity to sharpen their thinking ability. They case aside the shackles of their ego, and wear an outfit of modesty, because they know they still have a lot to learn.

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6. You are fascinated by how things work.

Critical thinkers have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Their friends might accuse them of being bookworms, news junkies, or academic addicts; but they’re okay with that, because they wouldn’t trade their childlike curiosity for anything in the world.

7. You have creative, innovative, original ideas.

Critical thinkers would rather innovate than regurgitate. They make a point to learn from the successes of others, but they execute original ideas that are anything but “predictable” or “conventional.”

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While being a critical thinker is typically a plus, there can always be too much of a good thing. These final three signs you’re a critical thinker are some common pitfalls you should look out for.

8. You over-analyze issues that only require a simple solution.

Critical thinkers are sometimes guilty of turning a small problem into a bigger one. Their brain processes on a high level, searching for complex solutions to life’s complicated problems. The best solutions, however, are often the simple ones.

9. You expect too much of yourself.

Critical thinkers are typically confident (and rightfully so), but sometimes they forget that they are human just like everyone else (and just in case you weren’t aware, being human means we are all inherently flawed). We all have those moments when we lose our senses or make a bad decision; being a critical thinker does not exempt you from this reality, but it does often amplify the stress that follows. Critical thinkers should cultivate an attitude of patience and let go of their need for perfection.

10. You do too much thinking, and not enough doing.

Critical thinkers would be wise to develop the action habit in order to counterbalance their tendency to over-think. No matter how powerful your brain might be, it won’t do you any good if you’re not actively pursuing your ambitions.

Did you see yourself in these signs you’re a critical thinker? Tell us in the comments.

If this article made you think, please share with your friends so they can join the conversation.

Featured photo credit: Rest in Peace/Randy Robertson via Flickr

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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